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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter of Davis

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters

Mission: The Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter of Davis (IRWS) is a community based-effort enabling member congregations to provide cold-weather shelter and hospitality on a rotating basis to persons who are homeless in the Davis community.

Results: Year 2 (2008-2009): 102 different guests served; 2,083 hot evening meals; 627 volunteers; 23 congregations/community groups; total expenditures: $4,441. Year 1 (2007-2008):  81 different guests served; 1,229 hot evening meals; 493 volunteers; 9 congregations/community groups; total expenditures: $4,497

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2008-2009: 102; 2007-2008: 81

Geographic areas served: City of Davis

Community Stories

33 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had a blast meeting the participants of the program, sleeping over twice and cooking a great meal with wonderful volunteers. Thanks to all who make this wonderful organization possible!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My involvement with IRWS has been nothing sort than inspirational and eye-opening. I am incredibly grateful to have volunteered with IRWS for more than a year now, and I was so impressed by the shelter that I have become increasingly more involved. Now, after assisting the board and really getting to know our guests, I've been inspired to include the homeless and other low-income individuals in mind as I pursue a human rights/ public policy law degree. Because of my experiences with IRWS, I have decided to dedicate more of my life to helping those without homes, and to all the kindhearted people of IRWS I am eternally grateful.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I look forward to sharing my time with guests at the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter. Volunteering in this way is so meaningful to me. I know that I learn something from each guest that strengthens my faith and when I see them satisfied with a good meal and a clean sleeping bag in which to sleep, I know my time is well spent. I have come to know something about homelessness that I never knew before and hope to be able to continue giving my time to this endeavor. It is very well worth every moment!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very busy yet I find time to volunteer as I firmly believe that IRWS certainly makes a difference in the lives of our community's homeless. Any evening is an experience in friendship, tasty homecooked culinary treats and gifting of ourselves, our time and effort. What goes around, comes around.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The IRWS of Davis is one of the most impactful community efforts I have ever seen. It is truly amazing to see people and families from all walks of life participate in the provision of shelter and hospitality for the underserved homeless in our community. I look forward to every time I am able to encounter guests and fellow volunteers who have become friends to me. I feel extraordinarily blessed to be a part of such an inspiring organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful shelter. I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't worked with the homeless before and was a little nervous. But I quickly found myself laughing and having a great time. The homeless clients were wonderful.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Most recent - stayed overnight. I was truly impressed with the organization of the evening, including two giant notebooks that seemed to have every possible contingency accounted for with instructions on what to do. Organizers are extremely helpful, guests know the drill and respect the volunteers and the facility. A wonderful way of taking care of "the least of these."

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a great program. I volunteered this year and was most excited by the openness of the volunteers. I gained a whole new perspective on the homeless community. One of the best programs in Davis... especially as they operate on such a small budget.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think this program is a blessing. I'm glad the IRWS is in our community. It's a great service opportunity, so I am very grateful for that.

9

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been so blessed by the guests at the IRWS shelter as well as with the most amazing volunteers

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization full of large and kind hearts. I hope it is given freedom to let all that generosity touch as many folk as possible each night it is in operation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I enjoyed volunteering at this rotating shelter. The rotation is coordinated among many congregations, and there are a few very devoted people that keep us all organized. I am amazed. The outreach is great, it seems, because the shelter is utilized by a diverse group of people from all walks of life who find themselves homeless at this time. I think the student interns play a key role in keeping this working, and they impress me with their responsibility and real devotion. This is the first time our congregation has been involved and I am proud that I got to be a part of it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered there last night. The tone was lovely, the staff were inspiring, and I especially appreciated how people of all faiths (or no faith) were all welcomed -- no one was preached to and everyone was fed and got to sleep there no string attached. I was sad to read in the local paper that some people in our town aren't enthusiastic about this service, as I think is is both essential, and well planned and implemented.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My grandson and his youth group volunteered last week and when he came home he was so pleased that all the people there were in a warm place and "their bellies were full and then we came around and gave them desert." It was a wonderful experience for him to do something for others and to see them as just people who needed a good meal and a warm place to spend the night.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the shelter overnight and as a driver and preparing meals. I enjoy meeting the guests, and seeing them around town. They are so appreciative of the service that they really step up to participate in clean-up and are very helpful. The shelter does so much good with a very minimal cost. More involvement by ordinary residents helps us as a city to see homelessness in a different light. No one should have to be out in the cold or the rain overnight.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the shelter in the past cooking dinner and staying overnight. It is a good program and the guests really appreciate it. I really love that the founders care so much about the homeless and the work they are doing to serve the homeless. I hope more people will get involved so the shelter can keep running!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for the IRWS the past 2 years at Davis U. Methodist Church as a driver, bringer of food, and overnight supervisor. I had many opportunities to talk with our guests and listened to of their stories of life on the street. I am impressed by how many volunteers step up to help in the effort, and each year (including this season) the effort is better organized. All the shelter, beds, food and labor is provided by the local community, especially the participating churches. I think we've never turned anybody away for lack of beds, food, etc.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of welcoming guests and helping w/ intake. I felt like I was immediately part of the team and was grateful to receive support from more experienced staff. I will be volunteering again.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a gift this program is to the unsheltered of Davis, what a gift it is to have served those folks as a volunteer. The program is gracious, kind, has firm boundaries, enforces ownership by assigning the guests chores in each building that is serving them. The leaders are committed and so hard working, the UCD interns are so clearly talented. Way to go IRWS!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's a pleasure to be involved with such an organized, committed group of folks. I'm thankful our community offers this ministry. Count me in for volunteering every year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization is amazing! I just started volunteering and it is a very rewarding experience. It is not like other organizations where they serve the food and that's it. We actually interact with guests and eat with them. I see us more as equals and I feel the guests feel more respected because of it.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered last night at dinner and through the overnight. What I experienced was an open-hearted team of volunteers and a community of appreciative helpful guests. In addition, the nature of the project will help build bridges between different religious/faith groups in our town. I recommend this organization wholeheartedly!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Such a team of organized and giving community members. I share the compassion for those without homes or places to stay. I applaud the interfaith network that makes this work. You are all a great asset to this community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the good fortune to volunteer for the shelter, both this year and last year. Each time I am a part of this wonderful experience, I am struck by the importance of this organization. Such a simple concept - to provide the most basic of needs to our fellow citizens. As I get to know the people served, I realize how different every story is. Their appreciation for the good food, a warm and dry sleeping area, and a bit of understanding conversation touches my heart. So much is done with so little money; it's a shame that more can't be served. The need is there.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked here more than a handful of times and every single time it was a wonderful experience. I feel like this is one of the best services provided to and by the people of Davis. And for a town like Davis, that's saying a lot.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wouldn't have thought it was possible for such diverse faith communities to come together to provide a rotating winter shelter but this group has done it and done it well for three years in Davis, CA. This group promotes understanding and compassion between community members and people living homeless. It is a warm, safe place for both those who serve and those who are served. My friends and I enjoy making a great meal and meeting the guests.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family has enjoyed this intergenerational opportunity to serve the homeless for a few years. With our two young daughters, my wife and I have helped prepare, serve and share a meal with the community's persons without shelter.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"It felt good to help people," said my 12 year old. "It felt nice to help people without a home," said my other 12 year old.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am very proud to be a member of the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter of Davis. It is a hundred percent grass roots movement of over 600 caring members of the Davis community. It is funded, staffed, and supported by hopeful members of many faith communities in our town and it is truly interfaith. Supporting congregations include just about every denomination you can name. They are all united in their belief in helping their fellow citizens in a spirit of respect and concern for human dignity. I, personally have met the most generous and giving people through this effort. It has been a life changing experience for me.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience is that it is easier to recover from trauma or tragedy if we don't have to go it alone. Friends and family normally give us a variety of support for a variety of reasons. For me, with little of one and even less of the other, the rotating shelter gives me a home away from homeless. this means food, often gourmet by comparison. the volunteers truly feed me better than I feed myself. My first step towards homelessness began when i decided the world did not need me as a doctor. nothing else seemed to be good enough for me, certainly did not challenge me enough. I took a job, a few for twenty years or so. Did well enough so I didn't really need to work; just when i wanted to. Then, 20 years ago to the month, i was struck by a car and should have been killed. I survived, but suffered pains that continue to this day. the pain made it difficult to get along wioth others and so precluded my ability to work. At least with others. Although I have a small income, it is not enough to live here in Davis, the place I have the deepest roots stemming from my life here as a University student. At my age, I am a little too long in the tooth for room mates, and we all know how expensive it is to live anywhere these days, especially a place like Davis, here, if you don't work for the University or own your own business, all that is left is the retail opportunities. a grown man cannot live off that, much less save and get ahead. Besides, it is almost impossible to be hired in Davis because students will do professional grade work for party money, so long as employers are flexible to their school schedules. The place is a business owner's dream.. For me, the Rotating Shelter solves a few problems. First, a roof over my head for twelve weeks, more than enough food, and something a little less tangible: emotional support. The ever changing staff of volunteers provide a kind of continuity, a sense of belonging somewhere, a sense that everything is ok. Second, I have twelve weeks to live for free...and to live freely without the pressure of wintertime wayfaring.this means i can regroup from my most recent crisis, losing my apartment, my cat and, almost, one of my many projects I puersue as a kind of self-therapy. That car striking me in a cross-walk broke more than my bones. Third and most important, the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter allows me to save enough money to do what is most important to me: Move into Slatters Court and live independently. I can easily afford the monthly rent, but the move-in cost in total are going to take a lot of saving, two months of it. i feel sorry for those that want to come in from the cold but can't either because they have mental health problems more severe than my own, because they are females or families with pets, or just plain can't handle the structure of shelter living, such as at Davis Community Meals' Shelter, or their Winter Shelter. But that's the beauty of IRWS: there is structure yes, but their structure is wrapped around us, not a paid staff. It's Davis taking care of it's own. Thank you IRWS of Davis Mynamis Lawson

9

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Our experience with this organization began last year. Through our local church, we became involved after hearing of the increasing needs of the homeless in our town. While caring for these people is a tall order, it is possible to meet some of those needs by sharing the responsibility amongst many local congregations and interested communities. We have belonged to a small group for the past 20 years, and our group signed up to make dinner one night, make a light and portable breakfast for the guests for next morning, and help with transportation needs. Those who stayed for dinner also chose to sleep in the warmth and shelter of our church building. It was a worthwhile and rewarding evening, and such a practical way to make a difference. We will definitely help out again this year.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Caring and love. The shelter provides the Davis community with a much needed resource. The guests at the shelter and the volunteers make this program a transforming experience.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

The IRWS continues to serve those living homeless with compassion and radical hospitality. The volunteers make this 100% volunteer organization the success that it is today!